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Happiness and Contemplation Happiness and Contemplation by Josef Pieper
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Happiness and Contemplation Quotes Showing 1-19 of 19
“The happy man needs nothing and no one. Not that he holds himself aloof, for indeed he is in harmony with everything and everyone; everything is "in him"; nothing can happen to him. The same may also be said for the contemplative person; he needs himself alone; he lacks nothing.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“What distinguishes - in both senses of that word - contemplation is rather this: it is a knowing which is inspired by love. "Without love there would be no contemplation." Contemplation is a loving attainment of awareness. It is intuition of the beloved object.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“... the greatest menace to our capacity for contemplation is the incessant fabrication of tawdry empty stimuli which kill the receptivity of the soul.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The happy life does not mean loving what we possess, but possessing what we love." Possession of the beloved, St. Thomas holds, takes place in an act of cognition, in seeing, in intuition, in contemplation.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Happiness,... even the smallest happiness, is like a step out of Time, and the greatest happiness is sharing in Eternity.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Who among us has not suddenly looked into his child's face, in the midst of the toils and troubles of everyday life, and at that moment "seen" that everything which is good, is loved and lovable, loved by God! Such certainties all mean, at bottom, one and the same thing: that the world is plumb and sound; that everything comes to its appointed goal; that in spite of all appearances, underlying all things is - peace, salvation, gloria; that nothing and no one is lost; that "God holds in his hand the beginning, middle, and end of all that is." Such nonrational, intuitive certainties of the divine base of all that is can be vouchsafed to our gaze even when it is turned toward the most insignificant-looking things, if only it is a gaze inspired by love. That, in the precise sense, is contemplation...

Out of this kind of contemplation of the created world arise in never-ending wealth all true poetry and all real art, for it is the nature of poetry and art to be paean and praise heard above all the wails of lamentation. No one who is not capable of such contemplation can grasp poetry in a poetic fashion, that is to say, in the only meaningful fashion. The indispensability, the vital function of the arts in man's life, consists above all in this: that through them contemplation of the created world is kept alive and active.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“No one can obtain felicity by pursuit. This explains why one of the elements of being happy is the feeling that a debt of gratitude is owed, a debt impossible to pay. Now, we do not owe gratitude to ourselves. To be conscious of gratitude is to acknowledge a gift.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Repose, leisure, peace, belong among the elements of happiness. If we have not escaped from harried rush, from mad pursuit, from unrest, from the necessity of care, we are not happy. And what of contemplation? Its very premise is freedom from the fetters of workaday busyness. Moreover, it itself actualizes this freedom by virtue of being intuition.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Happiness and joy are not the same. For what does the fervent craving for joy mean? It does not mean that we wish at any cost to experience the psychic state of being joyful. We want to have reason for joy, for an unceasing joy that fills us utterly, sweeps all before it, exceeds all measure.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Earthly contemplation means to the Christian, we have said, this above all: that behind all that we directly encounter the Face of the incarnate Logos becomes visible... Contemplation does not ignore the "historical Gethsemane," does not ignore the mystery of evil, guilt and its bloody atonement. The happiness of contemplation is a true happiness, indeed the supreme happiness; but it is founded upon sorrow.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The delight we take in our senses is an implicit desire to know the ultimate reason for things, the highest cause. The desire for wisdom that philosophy etymologically is is a desire for the highest or divine causes. Philosophy culminates in theology. All other knowledge contains the seeds of contemplation of the divine.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Material things have closed boundaries; they are not accessible, cannot be penetrated, by things outside themselves. But one's existence as a spiritual being involves being and remaining oneself and at the same time admitting and transforming into oneself the reality of the world. No other material thing can be present in the space occupied by a house, a tree, or a fountain pen. But where there is mind, the totality of things has room; it is "possible that in a single being the comprehensiveness of the whole universe may dwell.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Happiness is essentially a gift; we are not the forgers of our own felicity.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The "supreme good" and its attainment -- that is happiness. And joy is: response to happiness.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The "whole good" cannot be had, it would seem, without mustering all the strength of our inner life. Even in the sphere of external possessions there are goods which inherently demand, if they are to be truly ours, far more of us than mere acquisition. "'My garden,' the rich man said; his gardener smiled.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“Here we must take account of one of St. Thomas's conceptual distinctions, which at first seems like unnecessary caviling. It is the distinction between "uncreated" and "created" happiness. We have here something which, while not at all obvious, is nevertheless fraught with consequences for our whole feeling about life. Namely, this: what does indeed make us happy is the infinite and uncreated richness of God; but participation in this, happiness itself, is entirely a "creatural" reality governed from within by our humanity; it is not something that descends overwhelmingly upon us from outside. That is, it is not only something that happens to us; we ourselves are intensely active participants in our own happiness.
Beatitude - Thomas is saying - cannot possibly be conceived as a merely objective condition of sheer existence. It is not a mere quality, not pure passivity, not simply a feeling. It is something that takes place in the alert core of the mind... Happiness is an act and an activity of the soul.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“The common element in all the special forms of contemplation is the loving, yearning, affirming bent toward that happiness which is the same as God Himself, and which is the aim and purpose of all that happens in the world.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation
“... each gratification points to the ultimate one, and that all happiness has some connection with eternal beatitude. Some connection, if only this: that every fulfillment this side of Heaven instantly reveals its inadequacy. It is immediately evident that such satisfactions are not enough; they are not what we have really sought; they cannot really satisfy us at all.”
Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation